It’s officially summer, which means we’ll have beautiful blue skies and sun to enjoy for the next few months. While the upswing of summer increases our daylight, joy and general excitement, it may also bring about an upswing in business for your company.
Unfortunately, we can’t just lounge on the beach all summer long (although hopefully, you still get a decent dose of rest and relaxation under the sun — you’ve probably earned it!) For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the summer can also bring a flurry of new activity. Follow these five tips to ensure a successful summer season.
1. Evaluate your previous summer performance
The first thing to do in preparation for the sunny season is to evaluate how well your business performed during the summer rush last year — and possibly even the year before that.
Take notes and make sure you’re listing your strengths and weaknesses so that you know exactly what to play up and what to scrap for this year. This will help to keep you organized and help you prioritize the most important aspects for success.
Key things to look at for your personal business evaluation include:
- Marketing strategies
- Customer feedback
- Any B2B affiliate relationships
Pinpoint any weak spots and try to strengthen them with different tactics. Or cut them out altogether for now and focus primarily on your business’ strengths. (Then pick up where you left off in autumn and create a plan to improve the weak points.)
The real key to success is communication, so be sure to ask your employees for feedback. Keep an open mind and ear to your employees and be ready to help them in any way possible, as your business can’t run without them.
2. Plan as far ahead as you can
So what does planning ahead mean?
It could mean placing the order for a very important summer shipment well in advance, and maybe even ordering more than you did last season. Or it could mean setting up a summer work calendar (maybe even a shared digital calendar on Outlook or your Google environment) in which every important event is given a specific date. Keeping your team up-to-date on events, summer promotions and coworkers’ vacation dates will be helpful for everyone.
Planning ahead may require a bit more review time now, but it’ll make everything a whole lot simpler when the busy times arrive. Go through just about everything that you can, from your employees’ schedules to your budget. Make sure you have a detailed list of all activities and ensure you’ve communicated the game plan to the entire team just in case something goes wrong.
3. Implement changes
Your next step is to begin implementing the necessary changes and preparations.
For example, you may have determined that you didn’t have enough employees to make it through the summer rush last year, so hiring seasonal temp workers may be a beneficial boost to productivity (and a helpful way to keep your budget in check). Once again, consider feedback from your employees to learn where and how those temp workers will be most helpful.
Be sure to host an official ‘summer preparation’ meeting with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there’s no miscommunication between you and your staff. If necessary, host a summer training session to help everyone feel confident about their summer duties.
When it comes to scheduling and delegating, make sure all tasks are broken up and distributed equally amongst your teams. Make sure no one’s taking the brunt of a heavy responsibility or summer project since that could cause avoidable burnout.
It’s also just as important to get your customers ready for the summer rush. Having a strong social media presence to ramp up the summer season (including contests and promotions) is a way to solidify and strengthen your business’ online presence. Be sure to get any e-blasts, snail mail and other service advertisements ready before the season is officially underway so people know exactly what’s coming.
4. Research, research, research
Be prepared from all angles, and do your background research on the market, industry, tools and your customers.
For example, while you may be one of the best providers in your industry, chances are that you probably have some serious competition out there. It’s best to research exactly what they’re doing in the market and if they have started advertising for the summer.
Evaluate your competitors — just like you did your own company — and then make a ‘compare and contrast’ chart. See what you do better and what they do better, and then try to reach a marketing sweet spot. However, make sure you maintain a differentiated approach to the summer rush — your business is successful because it’s yours. Don’t forget that.
Also research new technological advancements, products and platforms that your business may benefit from using. Staying current on the technological trends in your field could reveal new tools or resources that could make your summer that much more successful.
5. Reward positivity
A good way to keep your employees and yourself motivated during the summer is to make work as enjoyable as possible. This means showing appreciation for those who do good work and keeping motivation high with great incentives.
Those could include summer discounts on your company’s own products or services, paid time-off on Friday afternoons or fun events hosted by the company for employees, friends and family.
As the heart of your business, your happy and motivated employees will help keep the business running smoothly and efficiently all summer long.